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Subj:.....Still More Opening Leads from Chapter 1, Part 8 (S538c)
From Chapter 1 - "Opening Leads", page 26

From the book How To Defend A Bridge Hand
by William S. Root
Published in 1994 by
Crown Publishing, Inc., New York

Study the bidding carefully and then choose your opening
lead for each of the following hands.

Here are five deals on the subject.

 1 West 8 6 5 9 7 3 7 5 4 2 A Q 9 West Pass Pass North 2 Hearts Pass East 2 Spades Pass South 1 Heart 4 Hearts

The lead of the five assumes you and your partner agree to lead low from three spot cards.  Here is a full deal where leading the lowest from three spot cards can guide your partner to the winning defense.

 . Q 10 2 J 8 6 A J 10 9 3 7 4 8 6 5.. 9 7 3.. 7 5 4 2 A Q 9.. A K J 9 3 4 2 8 6 J 10 6 5 7 4 A K Q 10 5 K Q K 8 3 2

Suppose your partner wins the first trick with the jack of spades and then leads the king of spades.  When you play the six of spades, he will know that declarer began with a doubleton.  Since he knows he cannot win any more spade tricks, he will automatically switch to clubs; the only defense to beat the contract.

In the next deal, the winning defense is to cash the third high spade.

 2 West 8 6 9 7 3 7 5 4 2 A 9 8 2 West Pass Pass North 2 Hearts Pass East 2 Spades Pass South 1 Heart 4 Hearts

This time you have a doubleton spade, so you should lead the eight.  Here is a possible set of hands:

 . Q 10 2 J 8 6 A J 10 9 3 7 4 8 6.... 9 7 3.. 7 5 4 2 A 9 8 2 A K J 9 3 4 2 8 6 J 10 6 5 7 5 4 A K Q 10 5 K Q K Q 3

When your partner cashes his second spade and you follow with the six, he will know that you started with a doubleton; that is if your aggreement is to lead low from three spot cards.  Aware that declarer has another spade, partner will beat the contract by cashing his third spade and switching to a club when you discard the nine of clubs as a signal.

 3 West 8 6 3 2 Q 7 4 J 9 8 2 10 3 West Pass North 1 NT 4 Spade East 2 Hearts All Pass South 3 Spades

Lead the queen of hearts.  The normal lead from three to an honor in your partner's suit is low, but here is a rare exception to the rule.  The bidding tipped you off that North is likely to have any missing heart honors, and he might have the king.  In the following layout, the queen of hearts is the only lead to beat the contract.

 . K Q 5 K 9 3 A K 10 5 J 8 7 8 6 3 2 Q 7 4.. J 9 8 2 10 3... 7 A J 10 8 2 Q 6 4 3 A 9 5 A J 10 9 4 6 5 7 K Q 6 4 2

Whether declarer covers the queen of hearts with the king or not, three rounds of hearts will be led and he will be forced to ruff the third round.  Declarer will lead two rounds of trumps.  When partner shows out on the second lead, declarer cannot make his contract with good defense.  If he leads clubs you play high-low and your partner should duck the first round, win the second and lead a third round of clubs, which you ruff.

There are times it is better not to lead your partner's suit.  For example:

 4 West 7 5 2 9 6 J 10 7 3 K Q J 4 West 2 Spades Pass North 3 Hearts Pass East 1 Spade Pass Pass South 2 Hearts 4 Hearts

Lead the king of clubs.  When your partner has bid a suit, you should lead it unless you have a very good alternative; such as this club holding.

 5 West 10 9 8 7 6 2 Q 9 8 5 4 3 7 West Pass North 4 Hearts East 1 Spade All Pass South 2 Hearts

Lead the seven of clubs.  It is unlikely that you can beat the contract unless you can get one or two club ruffs, so here is another type of hand where not leading your partner's suir is a good idea.

The opening leader must analyze the bidding and decide whether to make an aggressive lead or a passive lead against a slam.  Here are two illustrations:

 6 West 7 3 2 10 8 7 2 6 4 3 K Q 5 West Pass Pass Pass Pass North 2 Diamonds 4 Spades 5 Diamonds Pass East Pass Pass Pass Pass South 1 Spade 3 Spades 4 NT 6 Spades

Lead the king of clubs.  This bidding calls for an attacking lead:  It sounds as though the dummy will come down with a long and strong diamond suit, and your diamond holdfing - three low - suggests that declarer will have no trouble establishing the suit for discards.  Declarer's predictable line of play is to draw trumps and discard his losers on the long diamonds.  It is your hope that partner can win a trick in spades or diamonds in time to cash a club trick.

 7 West 7 3 2 10 8 7 2 6 4 3 K 5 4 West Pass Pass Pass Pass North 2 Diamonds 4 Spades 5 Diamonds Pass East Pass Pass Pass Pass South 1 Spade 3 Spades 4 NT 6 Spades

Lead the four of clubs.  A club lead is more likely to establish a trick than a heart lead.  You must hope that partner has the queen of clubs (or conceivably the ace) and declarer and dummy both have two or more clubs.  Then if your partner can get the lead before declarer can draw trumps and discard his losers on the diamond suit, you will be able to cash a club trick.  Suppose this is the full deal:

 . Q 5 A 9 3 K Q J 10 8 7 6 2 7 3 2... 10 8 7 2 6 4 3... K 5 4... 10 6 J 5 4 A 9 5 2 J 9 8 3 A K J 9 8 4 K Q 6 7 A Q 10

Alas, declarer has the ace and queen of clubs, so the contract cannot be set.  But note that declarer will make this contract no matter what you lead; your club lead cost nothing.

Now suppose you change the club holding so declarer has  A J 10 and your partner has the queen.  A club lead is the only way to beat the contract:  When partner gets the lead with the ace of diamonds, a club trick can be cashed; but with any other lead, declarer will have time to discard his losing clubs on the diamond suit.

Note that the club lead was an easy choice when you had the king-queen, but to lead away from a king against a slam, wow!

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These are seven examples from the book "How To Defend A Bridge Hand".